Moon's South Pole Gets Close-Up in Restored Photos
2009-06-19 0:00

By Robert Goodier | Space.com

Newly restored photographs of the moon's dark south pole, taken by lunar orbiters in 1967, were released this week in anticipation of NASA's planned Thursday launch of two new probes that will investigate the region in search of underground ice.

Through the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP), experts have scanned and digitally refurbished nearly 1,800 photographs of the moon that satellites snapped in 1966 and 1967. This week, the project released new versions of images showing permanently shadowed craters at the moon's south pole, a prime target for NASA's new lunar scouts set to launch tomorrow.

Dennis Wingo, who directs the project, was 6 years old when the first images were televised. "Even as a small child I was very much a follower of the space program," he told SPACE.com.

The orbiters took photographs and developed the film onboard before scanning them and relaying them to stations around the world. NASA scientists used the images to plan the Apollo moon landings. They were recorded on 2-inch analog tape and stored for posterity. Now, more than 40 years later, Wingo is using the only remaining tape players capable of extracting those images for digitization. He publishes the restorations on the Web site Moonviews.com.

A precursor of the project to restore the tapes began in the 1980s. That attempt stalled when funds dried up. Twenty years later, Wingo noticed a blog post that mentioned the tapes. Nancy Evans, co-founder of the NASA Planetary Data System, had the tape players stored in a barn and was looking for someone to finish the process she had started.

"We're converting them to digital, then processing them on the computer to show them in their original glory," Wingo said. NASA could later compare the 40-year-old images with those the new probes will gather, he added.



Lunar Orbiter IV took this photo of the moon's south pole in May of 1967. It has been digitized and restored through the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project. For more images like this one, please visit the project's Web site, Moonviews.com. Credit: LOIRC


Ice Mystery

This week's release of images comes as NASA prepares for the Thursday launch of a new mission to investigate whether there is water ice on the moon's south pole.

The mission involves two probes, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and a pair of crash-landing impactors, which will be lifted to space by an unmanned Atlas 5 rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Liftoff is set for 5:12 p.m. EDT (2112 GMT).

The lunar orbiter will map the moon's surface from orbit in unsurpassed resolution, capturing even the tracks that lunar rovers left behind. Accompanying the orbiter, NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite will drop two impactors into the south pole of the moon.

Following up on data collected by past missions that revealed hydrogen at the poles – a sign of water – scientists will analyze the debris that explodes from the impact sites in its search for underground lunar ice.



This 1967 image of the moon's south pole has been recovered in its original high resolution from old Lunar Orbiter project data tapes using restored tape drive hardware. Prominent features and processing artifacts are identified. For more images like this one, please visit the Web site, Moonviews.com. Credit: LOIRC


Article from: Space.com




Related Articles
Restoring the Moon: Lunar Orbiter Images Recovered
Target: Moon
How the Moon Was Made: Cosmic Collision [Video]
200,000 Year Old Statue Found On Moon (Hoax?)
NASA uses probes to hunt for ancient planet that may prove Earth moon origins
Next for SpaceX: Falcon 9, NASA, Humans and the Moon? (Note the choice of names!)
Orion vs. Apollo: NASA's 21st Century Moonshot
Mirrors on the Moon as a Galactic Greeting Card
Bart Sibrel on Binnall of America - Moon Hoax Theory (Audio)
US plans permanent base on Moon
Earth's moon destined to disintegrate


Latest News from our Front Page

Gunman Storms Dutch TV Station Demanding Airtime
2015-01-30 23:32
Dutch authorities have released few details about the bizarre case of 19-year-old Tarik Zahzah’s attack on the main news studio of television station NOS on Thursday. To get the obvious question out of the way first, the police say there is no evidence that Zahzah, who is half-Egyptian, acted on behalf of organized terrorism. The authorities always say that on the ...
How Alan Dershowitz bullied rape victims to protect a serial child molester
2015-01-30 23:40
Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz always felt children were fair game for Israeli missiles. Now the question is whether he thinks they are fair game for the sexual exploits of his powerful associates and himself. Dershowitz and the UK’s Prince Andrew were accused in a recent court filing of raping a teenage girl who was forced into sexual slavery by ...
Alchemical Banksters
2015-01-30 22:39
This past week, the world's preeminent vultures, the economic power elite, met in Davos to discuss the maintenance of their global fiat hegemony. Highlights included furthering austerity, noting that the serf class can't have air conditioning and cars, as well as cheering on the death of privacy through the rise of technocracy. The degenerate elite, completely out of touch with ...
Men must prove a woman said ’Yes’ under tough new rape rules
2015-01-30 4:54
New guidance will be issued to all police forces and prosecutors as part of a ’toolkit’ to move rape investigations into the 21st century Men accused of date rape will need to convince police that a woman consented to sex as part of a major change in the way sex offences are investigated. The Director of Public Prosecutions said it was ...
4 beheaded in Saudi Arabia less than a week into King Salman's rule
2015-01-30 3:13
Comment: So when will the the "Human rights" promoting liberal west elite decide invade Saudi Arabia like they did Libya? Members of Magic Movement stage a mock execution scene in protest of Saudi Arabia beheading of eight Bangladeshi workers in October 2011. Four people have been executed in Saudi Arabia less than a week after 79-year-old King Salman assumed power following the ...
More News »